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U.S.' healthiest cities: Washington, D.C. tops American Fitness Index list

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The healthiest city in the United States is the Washington metropolitan area according to a new list released, according to a USA Today publication on Wednesday. Washington has reclaimed the top position on the annual list of health and community fitness. Minneapolis-St. Paul has held the honors for the past three years but now has fallen to number two on the list. The list is released by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Completing the top five on the list are Portland, Oregon at number three. Denver, Colorado is at number four, and San Francisco is at number five. On the other end of the list, Memphis is found at number 50.

The report uses federal data and other data to compare Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) judged by 31 indicators in four major categories. The categories are chronic health problems including diabetes and asthma, health behaviors including fruit consumption and cigarette smoking, physical or built environments including parkland acreage and the number of farmer’s markets in a community, and the availability of recreational facilities such as playgrounds and swimming pools in a given area. There was a new measurement this year as well, a city’s “Walk Score.” This feature measures how easily one can walk to amenities and services in a community, according to ACMS: The American Fitness Index's website.

Healthiness of Cities in the United States 2014: ACMS American Fitness Index

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
  3. Portland, Oregon
  4. Denver Colorado
  5. San Francisco, California
  6. San Jose, California
  7. Seattle, Washington
  8. San Diego, California
  9. Boston, Massachusetts
  10. Sacramento, California
  11. Salt Lake City, Utah
  12. Harford, Connecticut
  13. Raleigh, North Carolina
  14. Austin, Texas
  15. Chicago, Illinois
  16. Atlanta, Georgia
  17. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  18. Cincinnati, Ohio
  19. Los Angeles, California
  20. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  21. Richmond, Virginia
  22. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  23. Providence, Rhode Island
  24. New York City, New York
  25. Baltimore, Maryland
  26. Miami, Florida
  27. Charlotte, North Carolina
  28. Riverside, California
  29. Buffalo, New York
  30. Jacksonville, Florida
  31. Tampa, Florida
  32. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  33. Cleveland, Ohio
  34. Kansas City, Missouri
  35. Houston, Texas
  36. Phoenix, Arizona
  37. Las Vegas, Nevada
  38. Dallas, Texas
  39. New Orleans, Louisiana
  40. Columbus, Ohio
  41. St. Louis, Missouri
  42. Orlando, Florida
  43. Detroit, Michigan
  44. Birmingham, Alabama
  45. San Antonio, Texas
  46. Nashville, Tennessee
  47. Indianapolis, Indiana
  48. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  49. Louisville, Kentucky
  50. Memphis, Tennessee

As far as this year’s winner is concerned, the Washington metro area, it had the highest score with a numerical total of 77.3 out of 100 possible points. Its positives were in the category of personal health behaviors of the citizenry and the amenities that support physical activity and healthy living. Washington also received high marks for parkland and farmers’ markets, as well as good marks for its public transportation and commuters’ methods of travel which include biking and walking. Washington has an excellent “Walk Score.”

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